‘Sweet Grown Alabama’ launches to designate locally farmed products
Shoppers looking to buy local and support Alabama farmers will soon have a new way to identify Yellowhammer State-grown products thanks to the ‘Sweet Grown Alabama’ logo.
Sweet Grown Alabama is a non-profit foundation governed by a board of directors, including: Rick Pate, commissioner of the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries; Jimmy Parnell, president of the Alabama Farmers Federation and Alfa Insurance; and Horace Horn, vice president of external affairs of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative.
The board is assisted by an advisory committee made up of farmers, chefs, association representatives and other industry experts.
Sweet Grown Alabama’s mission is to enhance marketing opportunities for the state’s farmers by connecting retailers and consumers to Alabama-grown foods and other agricultural products.
“As I travel across the state, most of the questions I receive from consumers are about their food and where it comes from,” Pate explained in a statement.
“We want residents of Alabama to walk into a grocery store or farmers market and easily identify products grown in Alabama,” he added. “The Sweet Grown Alabama brand logo will allow them to do so and ensure the product they purchase is grown to the highest standards of quality and food safety.”
Farmers and value-added product makers will have an opportunity to join the program and brand their Alabama-grown products with the logo. Member farms and products will also be listed on an online searchable directory.
Parnell said his federation members are happy to help lead this charge.
“We are proud to be part of this effort to provide additional marketing opportunities for Alabama farmers,” he emphasized.
“Our goal is to increase demand for Alabama-grown products and, ultimately, improve sales and profitability for farm families,” Parnell advised. “Alabama is among America’s most agriculturally diverse states, and Sweet Grown Alabama gives us a chance to showcase the quality and variety of our products.”
Program membership is available in three categories and dues are based on the farm or company’s annual sales.
The first category is the “Sweet Grown Alabama Member,” which is for farmers and makers of value-added products with at least 50% of ingredients grown in the state.
Then, “Sweet Grown Alabama Associate” memberships are for associations, institutions, retailers, restaurants, businesses, farmers markets, agritourism operations and others who support the mission of the organization but do not have a product to brand themselves.
“By strengthening agriculture, Sweet Grown Alabama will benefit the entire state,” Horn said. “Agriculture already contributes $70 billion to Alabama’s economy and accounts for more than 500,000 jobs. Sweet Grown Alabama will enhance economic development in rural communities by giving farmers and associated businesses additional resources for marketing.”
Finally, “Sweet Grown Alabama Supporter” memberships are available for those committed to the organization’s mission with a desire to reach farmers and consumers across the state, as well as to improve the agricultural industry and overall economy in the Yellowhammer State. Supporter members must contribute a minimum of $5,000 annually.
Future program plans of Sweet Grown Alabama include the online directory, robust consumer advertising campaigns, e-newsletters, farm-to-table dinners and more.
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Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn